Except for a few seconds in the beginning and the end, the movie 'Birdman' appears as a continuous long take. The only other movie I can think of like that was Hitchcock's 'Rope' (1946).

But in Rope, (and in most other uses of long take, whether for the entire movie or not), the events occurring during the long take are happening real time. (The famous chase scene from The Secret In Their Eyes comes to mind).

Hence my question: Is Birdman the first movie to capture sporadic events in a long take? Or has it been done before?

  • Just want to make clear.. are you talking about only Hollywood movies or movies all over the world (including documentaries)?
    – Mr_Green
    Feb 5, 2015 at 7:53
  • @Mr_Green: feature-length live-action movies anywhere in the world (documentaries excluded)
    – Tushar Raj
    Feb 5, 2015 at 8:45
  • 3
    Well, technically, Russian Ark contains characters and depicts historical events from various periods of time.
    – Walt
    Feb 5, 2015 at 9:27
  • @Walt: Thanks. I'll check it out. Although, I must say that from a cursory net search, it looks like the characters/events you speak of are ghosts/visions in the current timeline. (If I'm wrong, please don't post any spoilers!)
    – Tushar Raj
    Feb 5, 2015 at 10:49

4 Answers 4


Even being told as real time stories, all of these movies (The Rope, Slacker and Birdman) had cuts in between scenes. In the case of Birdman, required a lot of preparation and choreography from the crew, and post-production work.

But a movie called Russian Ark (2002) is in fact a single shot, for the entire movie. According to Wikipedia, "Three attempts were made to complete the shot; the first two had to be interrupted owing to technical faults, but the third (and final chance to complete the shot owing to time constraints) was completed successfully."


I'm not sure if that answer your question but this type of filming can also be seen in the first movie of Richard Linklater : "Slacker"

Basically the camera follow each character as he or she encounter another character and after that the camera start following the another character, leading to another encounter, etc. The whole movie is based on this.

  • 1
    For me that qualifies as real time events. Mar 11, 2015 at 16:27

In the film el secreto de sus ojos there is a scene that starts with an air view of the stadium and continues with actions of the actors in thier seats in the stadium.


  • 1
    I saw that. (The secret in their eyes). Fabulous scene, but still real-time.
    – Tushar Raj
    Jul 23, 2015 at 16:21

There's a film called "Russian Ark" that was shot in the Hermitage museum in St, Petersburg, Russia. I believe the Entire Thing is one long take .. spanning several hours

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